27 November 2017

Tenancy Services is proud to support Cyber Smart Week 2017, New Zealand’s cyber security awareness week brought to you by CERT NZ and Connect Smart.

Landlords and property managers need to be especially cyber smart, as they hold a lot of sensitive information such as tenants’ contacts, banking records, and other personal details like passports and driving licence numbers. 

It’s critical that everyone’s financial and personal information is protected from cyber security threats. 

To illustrate how a cyber-attack could affect a landlord or property manager, CERT NZ outlined this scenario: 

Eru is a property manager for 10 properties around Wellington. He collects a lot of sensitive information by e-mail from his tenants such as their banking and passport details, and he conducts a number of financial transactions from his phone. 

Eru has many different accounts, so to make it easy, he uses his pet’s name as his password on everything. 

One day, LinkedIn and Yahoo are hacked and billions of user names and passwords are released publicly, including Eru’s.  At attacker uses these to try email and password combinations on other websites to see where those passwords have been reused. 

The attacker gains access to Eru’s bank accounts and accounting software. They empty his bank account, change his password for all his accounts, and lock him out. 

Eru gets an e-mail telling him the hacker is holding him to ransom and threatens to release sensitive tenant information unless he pays. If he doesn’t pay, he risks his reputation and credibility being completely ruined. 

CERT NZ has some advice on their website about how to avoid this happening to you. This includes using different passwords for each of your accounts, and enabling two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA is an extra layer of protection on top of your password. With 2FA in place, even if an attacker knows your password, they still can’t get into your accounts. For more tips on stepping up your cyber security, go to Cyber Smart Week.

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